The Track 017 - Mike Thibault

Mike Thibault performs in the Stompology Show 2015

Mike Thibault performs in the Stompology Show 2015

This month, I am joined by my long-time friend, Mike Thibault.  Mike is a driving force in the swing dance scene of Rochester, NY, where he is a founding member of the teaching group Groove Juice Swing and helps organize events like Stompology & Slow Dance Soirée.  Mike has been running Swing Out New Hampshire since 2014, and is also a sought-after DJ, serving as Head DJ for Frankie 100 and spinning at events such as ILHC, Lindy Focus, and numerous lindy exchanges.

We sat down after Stompology 2016 to reminisce about our time as students at Rochester Institute of Technology, where we discovered swing music and learned dance steps from VHS copies of Swing Kids.  Mike clarifies my memories of our early dance adventures, offers some advice for new DJs, and talks about how his passion for history has led him to collaborate with Andrew Nemr and the Tap Legacy Foundation on an archive of American vernacular jazz dance.

We also discuss taking over Swing Out New Hampshire, what is required to foster a welcoming swing dance community, his joy in hosting late night after-parties at the mythical Lindy Compound, and realizing that his contributions to the Lindy Hop community, and not his day job, are his true life’s work.

The Track 015 - Michael Gamble

Michael Gamble at Lindy Focus XIV

Michael Gamble at Lindy Focus XIV

This month, I am joined by DJ, Lindy Focus co-organizer, and Rhythm Serenaders bandleader, Michael Gamble. Michael has been swing dancing for more than 15 years and in that time his projects have become some of the most esteemed in the swing dance community.

Michael has been head DJ for Beantown, Lindy Focus and the European Swing Dance Championships, and a featured DJ at Herrang Dance Camp, ILHC, and the Lone Star Championships, among others.  His band, the Rhythm Serenaders, has performed at events including DCLX, Lindy on the Rocks, and the Nevermore Jazz Ball, and have just announced their first album, which comes out later this summer. Lindy Focus has become one of the largest and most popular swing dance events in the country, drawing more than one thousand attendees each year to his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina.

We sat down at LindyFest 2016 to talk about how his start in the world of electronic music, a bachelor’s degree in music and a father in the music industry all shaped his direction as a performer of authentic swing dance and music.  We dive deep into what it takes to run one of the nation's premiere swing events, how DJs carry the responsibility for furthering jazz literacy in an era focused on live music, and the the challenges of transcribing a classic swing song.

The Track 014 - Laura Windley

Laura Windley at ILHC 2014

Laura Windley at ILHC 2014

This month, I am joined by vocalist, swing DJ, and Lindy Shopper - Laura Windley.  Laura began DJing in her native North Carolina in 2001, and since has been spinning at major events across the country. Her blog, Lindy Shopper, provides swing dancers with invaluable vintage fashion and shopping resources for finding dance clothing new and old.

Laura got her start singing with the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars, and has since performed with bands such as the Jonathan Stout Orchestra and Michael Gamble's Rhythm Serenaders. In 2012, she and her husband, trombonist Lucien Cobb, founded the Mint Julep Jazz Band, which quickly became a mainstay in the Lindy Hop and Balboa scene, and will be making its New York City debut at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing festival this June.

We sat down at Lindy Focus 2015 to talk about getting started both as a vocalist and swing DJ, trading her childhood dream of dermatology for a career in Law, and her stint as a bassist in an all-girl law school rock band. We also discuss what goes into blogging for Lindy Shopper, getting the call for the Mint Julep Jazz Band to perform at Lincoln Center, and how she managed her stage fright to become one of the most popular vocalists in the swing dance scene today.

The Track 010 - Rob Moreland

Rob Moreland DJing at Lindy Focus XIV

Rob Moreland DJing at Lindy Focus XIV

This month, I am joined by the Head DJ of Lindy Focus, Rob Moreland.  ‘Raleigh’ Rob has been DJing for swing dancers since 2003, when he started a four-year stretch of DJing every week at a local dance in Raleigh, NC.  Now based in St. Louis, Rob has since DJed countless international dance events, including the Basie Centennial Ball, Frankie100, and Lindy Showdown, and has been the featured DJ at Stompology, Swing Out New Hampshire, and the Nevermore Jazz Ball.

In our conversation, we talk about how he found swing dancing after playing second fiddle in a cajun band, compare some of our worst DJ mistake horror stories, and explore the differences between DJing at large national events and local regular gigs.  We also commiserate on our mutual weakness for remembering song titles, compare notes on preparing for gigs & contest music, and Rob shares some advice he'd give to new and aspiring DJs.